In The News


Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Moot is pleased to announce that it has acquired Small & Schena LLP, and that attorneys William F. Small and John A. Schena will be joining the firm as partners effective January 2, 2019.  With a focus on business litigation, employment law, intellectual property and related practice areas, Small and Schena will add nearly two decades of combined litigation experience in state and federal courts throughout California to Schwartz Semerdjian’s extensive roster of expertise. 

“We couldn’t be more excited about Will and John joining our firm,” said Managing Partner Ross Schwartz.  “John actually started his career with our firm in 2009 as a law clerk. When he left to join Will in 2014, we continued to work with both of them and are thrilled that things have come full circle and they are joining Schwartz Semerdjian.  They are both exceptional attorneys and great people, and will make a welcome addition to our team.”

Schwartz Semerdjian will continue its extensive practice in civil trial and appellate practice in state and federal courts, with an emphasis in business and commercial litigation, employment litigation and labor counseling, construction litigation, personal injury, wrongful death, product liability, officers and directors liability, professional liability, insurance defense, intellectual property, including trademark and copyright, and unfair competition litigation.

William F. Small - Prior to joining Schwartz Semerdjian, William Small was a partner in his own law practice, Small & Schena LLP, and before that served as senior counsel at the San Diego office of Gordon & Rees.  His practice focuses on business and employment litigation as well as professional liability and defamation litigation.  William also advises clients on legal issues ranging from contracts to compliance with employment laws - with the goal of avoiding litigation.   

William is active in the San Diego legal community, serving as Chair of the San Diego County Bar Association's Civil Litigation Executive Committee in 2016 and 2017.  Some of his recent accolades include being named a San Diego County Top Attorney in Corporate Litigation in 2015 by the San Diego Daily Transcript, Best of the Bar in 2015 and 2016 by the San Diego Business Journaland a Rising Star in 2017 by Super Lawyers.

William obtained his Bachelors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law.  He and his family reside in the Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego.

John A. Schena - John Schena founded Small & Schena LLP with William Small in 2014.  John is a litigator focusing on the resolution of business disputes, with an emphasis on fiduciary duty, contract, privacy law, commercial torts, trade secret, trademark, and copyright matters.  He has successfully prosecuted and defended actions to final judgment on behalf of both public and private entities, as well as individuals, throughout California.  He has extensive experience with bench and jury trials, as well as arbitration and administrative law proceedings.

John has dedicated pro bono hours to the formation and assistance of many local nonprofits, including sitting on the board of directors of CompassionIt and Bosh Bosh.  A frequent contributor to Trial Bar News, the monthly periodical of the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, John has written articles regarding identification of misappropriated trade secrets in litigation, managing the costs of discovery, the scope of the attorney-client privilege, and effective summary judgment practice.  Some of his recent accolades include being named a Rising Star in 2016, 2017, and 2018 by Super Lawyers, being recognized as a Super Lawyer in 2019, and being named to the Best of the Bar 2015 and 2017 by the San Diego Business Journal.

John obtained his Bachelors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law.  He, his fiancé, and sonlive in the San Diego neighborhood of South Park.

About Schwartz Semerdjian

Schwartz Semerdjian specializes in business counseling and transactional services in corporate and entity formation, real estate, business sales and acquisitions, employment, landlord/tenant, commercial, licensor/licensee, and probate, trusts and estate planning.


Partner John Moot argues before the California Supreme Court. The case involves a civil anti-corruption suit he filed on behalf of a school district against contractors who obtained a lucrative contract to manage school construction bonds by wining and dining and giving elaborate gifts to board members. After the Supreme Court accepted the case for review and briefs were filed, Mr. Moot obtained a $7.5 million-dollar settlement for the school district. Even though the money has been paid and the settlement is final, the Supreme Court felt one of the legal issues in the case was so important it will still hear and decide if criminal grand jury testimony and the factual basis for criminal guilty pleas are admissible in a civil proceeding.


Honored with recognition from the leading survey of lawyers worldwide, Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Moot LLP has been named a top tier law firm in two practice areas for the ninth annual U.S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings.  Well-known for its work on large, complex matters where an entire business may be at risk, Schwartz Semerdjian was chosen as an exceptional firm in San Diego for tort and labor and employment litigation.


Schwartz Semerdjian is proud to announce that firm partner Sierra Spitzer has been elected as the 2019 Vice Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Section of the San Diego County Bar Association. Congratulations, Sierra!


Partner Dick Semerdjian will present to members of the Associated Subcontractors Alliance a workshop on “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.”  Remember, California companies with 50 employees or more are required by law to provide 2 hours of sexual harassment training to supervisors, and all attendees tomorrow will receive a written proof of completion.  Regardless of a company's size, it is more important than ever for employers to educate personnel about work place conduct and sexual harassment.